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Southwest Regional data

Sky Island Grassland Assessment (September 2012)

Sky Island grasslands of central and southern Arizona, southern New Mexico and northern Mexico form the “grassland seas” that surround small forested mountain ranges in the borderlands. Their unique biogeographical setting and the ecological gradients associated with “Sky Island mountains” add tremendous floral and faunal diversity to these grasslands and the region as a whole. Sky Island grasslands have undergone dramatic vegetation changes over the last 130 years including encroachment by shrubs, loss of perennial grass cover and spread of non-native species. Changes in grassland composition and structure have not occurred uniformly across the region and they are dynamic and ongoing. In 2009, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) launched its Sky Island Grassland Initiative, a 10-year plan to protect and restore grasslands and embedded wetland and riparian habitats in the Sky Island region. The objective of this assessment is to identify a network of priority grassland landscapes where investment by the Foundation and others will yield the greatest returns in terms of restoring grassland health and recovering target wildlife species across the region. Download file (7 MB)

Climate Change Adaptation for People and Nature (March 2012)

In the U.S. Southwest, global climate change, acting in concert with extant stressors such as urbanization and over-allocation of water resources, is changing ecosystems in measureable and sometimes dramatic ways. Twentyfirst century projections indicate accelerating climate change and cascading ecological consequences. Our experience suggests that adaptation efforts can be effective if they are focused at the local scale; employ learning networks; and engage in ecosystem-based adaptation: the sustainable management, conservation and restoration of ecosystems so that they continue to provide the services that allow people to thrive in changing environments.

Download file (2mb)

Flagstaff Climate Change Adaptation Workshop: Draft Report (April 2010)

Report on the Southwest Climate Change Initiative’s Flagstaff Climate Change Adaptation Workshop of April 2010 in Flagstaff, Arizona. 77 pp., including executive summary and appendices.

Download file (3.4 MB)

Managing Changing Landscapes in the Southwestern United States (January 2011)

This regional assessment examines the impacts of temperature change from 1951-2006 on natural resources in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. It documents that warming has already affected habitats, watersheds, and species in the Southwest, by influencing the timing of seasonal events or amplifying the impacts of natural disturbances such as wildfire and drought. The report concludes that to begin adapting to climate change, natural resource managers should reevaluate the effectiveness of current restoration tools, modify resource objectives, learn from climate-smart adaptive management and monitoring, and share information across boundaries.

Bear River Climate Adaptation Workshop: Participant Notebook (May 2010)

Agenda, climate change scenarios, climate change adaptation framework description, background information about climate change in the Great Basin, and other materials that were distributed in a notebook to all participants at the Bear River Climate Adaptation Workshop of May 2010.

Bear River Climate Change Adaptation Workshop Final Report and Appendices (2010)

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) convened a two-day workshop entitled Climate Change Adaptation Workshop for Natural Resource Managers in the Bear River Basin on May 26-27, 2010, in Salt Lake City, Utah. The goal of the workshop was to identify management strategies that will help native plants, animals and ecosystems adapt to a changing climate and lay the groundwork for their implementation in the Bear River Basin. Thrity-nine representatives of 20 state and federal agencies, local governments, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations participated.

Download file (4 MB)

Bear River Climate Change Adaptation Workshop Presentations (May 2010)

Presentations by speakers at the Bear River Climate Adaptation Workshop of May 2010, including Patrick McCarthy (The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico), Dr. Gregg Garfin (University of Arizona), Dr. Linda O. Mearns (National Center for Atmospheric Research), Dr. Joe Barsugli (University of Colorado), Dr. Frederic H. Wagner (Utah State University), and Dr. Molly Cross (Wildlife Conservation Society).

Flagstaff Climate Adaptation Workshop: Presentations (April 2010)

Presentations by speakers at the Flagstaff Climate Adaptation Workshop of April 2010, including Dr. Gregg Garfin (University of Arizona), Dr. Linda O. Mearns (National Center for Atmospheric Research), Dr. Seshadri Rajagopal (University of Arizona), Dr. Kenneth Cole (US Geological Survey), Dr. Kirsten E. Ironside (Northern Arizona University), Dr. Peter Fule (Northern Arizona University), Megan M. Friggins (USFS – Rocky Mtn Research Station), Dr. Joseph L. Ganey (USFS – Rocky Mtn Research Station), and Dr. Molly Cross (Wildlife Conservation Society).

Gunnison Basin Climate Adaptation Workshop: Final Report & Appendices (December 2009)

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) convened a two-day workshop entitled Climate Change Adaptation Workshop for Natural Resource Managers in the Gunnison Basin on December 2-3, 2009, in Gunnison, Colorado. The goal of the workshop was to identify management strategies that will help native plants, animals and ecosystems adapt to a changing climate and lay the groundwork for their implementation in the Gunnison Basin. Fifty-seven representatives of 20 state and federal agencies, local governments, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations participated.

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Apache Highlands Grasslands Assessment (October 2008)

This paper describes a simple, yet broadly applicable rapid assessment expert system approach that can be used to assess grassland status for improved conservation planning and management.

Download file (1.5 MB)

Report 2 (of 3) Evidence of Climate Change in NM (December 2008)

The second of three reports assesses the conservation implications of recent climate change on New Mexico’s watersheds and hydrology. Analyzing recent trends (1970-2006) in a water balance variable—climate water deficit—that indicates biological moisture stress or drying, this study identifies watersheds of high conservation importance in New Mexico that are most and least vulnerable to ongoing climate change.

Download file (9 MB)

Ecological Site Description and Biophysical Setting Comparison (June 2007)

Staff of The Nature Conservancy completed a review and comparison of ecological models produced by the LANDFIRE multi-agency project and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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Report 1 (of 3) Evidence of Climate Change in NM (April 2008)

There is now strong scientific evidence that human-induced climate change is affecting the earth's species and ecological systems. The Nature Conservancy's state-wide assessment of recent climate change enables practitioners and managers to make better informed decisions and to take action in the near-term by identifying the potential vulnerability of habitat types, priority conservation sites and species to climate change.

Download file (8.3 MB)

Ecoregional Assessment Geodatabase for Western North America (January 2008)

GIS data set that aggregates the information from 19 ecoregional assessments across western North America packaged as a personal geodatabase for use with ArcGIS 9.x and Microsoft Access software products. This dataset may be downloaded from the Arizona Program website

Historical Range of Variation for Potential Natural Vegetation Types of the Southwest (June 2007)

Descriptions of the Historical Range of Variation or Variability (HRV) characterize the change over time and space in the condition of the Southwest’s major vegetation types and the ecological processes that shape those types. HRVs enable land managers and the public to understand the drivers of change in our region’s major vegetation types.

Southwest Forest Assessment Project Peer Review Process (October 2006)

All of the reports and data sets developed for the Southwest Forest Assessment Project were subjected to external peer review to ensure conformance with the Forest Service’s Science Consistency Review Standards. This report includes a complete list of the resource professionals who reviewed the various components of this project.

Download file (<1 MB)

Ecosystem Diversity Reports for National Forests in New Mexico and New Mexico (August 2006)

Ecosystem diversity reports were developed to support the Forest Service’s need for information on the species and ecosystems that occur on National Forests in Region 3. The reports contain data summaries and analyses of a variety of regional datasets. Each report is packaged with an introduction and chapters describing methods and data sources.

Overview: Ecoregion-Based Conservation Assessments of the SW United States and Northwestern Mexico (July 2006)

Provides an overview of ecoregional assessments and the process used to create a standardized, cross-ecoregional dataset for six ecoregions within and adjacent to Arizona. This report may be downloaded from the Arizona Program website.

What is the Southwest Forest Assessment Project? (June 2006)

Brief overview describing a collaborative effort between The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Forest Service Region 3 in Arizona and New Mexico, a project designed to develop scientific information for forest plan revisions and to help in the restoration of ecosystems.

Download file (< 1 MB)

Historical Fire Return Intervals for Arizona and New Mexico (May 2006)

Synthesizes the scientific literature on historical fire return intervals associated with the major vegetation systems across Arizona and New Mexico. Included is a crosswalk table for use with the Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project's land cover dataset and three ArcGIS layer (.lyr) files that enable the user to mimic the report graphics.

Download file (<1 MB)

U.S. Forest Service Region 3 Species Database (May 2006)

Provides an up-to-date, searchable excel database on the species that occur on Region 3 Forests in Arizona and New Mexico.

Download file (<1 MB)

Biotic Communities of the Southwest GIS Layer (January 2006)

TNC developed a digital version for the whole of David E. Brown and Charles H. Lowe's 1981 map. Previously, GIS representations of this map were only available for its Arizona and New Mexico portions. Users: please note the relatively coarse source scale of the paper map (1:1,000,000) when using this digital version for analyses. A layer file (.lyr) which mimics the familiar color scheme of the paper map is also provided.

Download file (7.5 MB)

Grasslands Assessment GIS Data (December 2004)

A GIS data set depicting the results of a two-year study to delineate grasslands and evaluate their ecological condition in Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Mexico. This study was completed with the assistance of resource professionals from U.S. and Mexico universities and public agencies.

Download file (1 MB)

Ecoregional Conservation Assessment Reports (1999-2007)

Original reports summarizing the results of the seven ecoregional conservation assessments completed for the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico by The Nature Conservancy and partners.

An Assessment of the Spatial Extent and Condition of Grasslands in AZ, NM, and Northern Mexico (January 2003)

This report is the first of two studies completed by TNC and partners to delineate the spatial extent and ecological condition of grasslands in central and southern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and northern Mexico. This report covers the 30-million acre Apache Highlands Ecoregion.

Download file (1 MB)

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